Another day, another draft grade, this one from the league’s own website, and one that is fairly significantly more on the optimistic side when it comes to the Pittsburgh Steelers. After delving into Pro Football Focus’ post-draft evaluation, who gave the team’s new class as grade of a B-, the A- grade from Chad Reuter feels even more positive.
Separately grading each day, he awarded the Steelers a B for day one—since they had no first-round pick—followed by an A- for their selections of wide receiver Chase Claypool and Alex Highsmith at outside linebacker in the second and third rounds, respectively.
They also received a B grade for the third day of the draft, where the bulk of their selections came. In the fourth round, they added running back Anthony McFarland and guard Kevin Dotson, then picked up safety Antoine Brooks, Jr. in the sixth round and defensive tackle Carlos Davis in the seventh.
“Last year’s trade with Miami for safety Minkah Fitzpatrick was worth the first-round pick it cost”, Reuter writes. “And I liked the decisions to add Claypool at receiver and Highsmith as depth at edge rusher with their second- and third-round picks, respectively. That’s a solid couple of days for GM Kevin Colbert”.
“Colbert went with another mid-round back in McFarland after using similar picks on James Conner (No. 105 overall, 2017), Jaylen Samuels (No. 165, 2018), and Benny Snell (No. 122, 2019) the past three seasons”, he went on. “He does have speed, though, which the team needed at the position. Dotson gives the team depth for now, and could develop into a future starter at guard down the line. The team needed a nose tackle and Davis fits that bill well”.
How much the Steelers can get out of their day three picks, especially the latter two, really remains to be seen, but there is always a law of diminishing returns in the draft, which is logical. Like a game of kickball on the playground, when you pick teams, the kids who are left to be picked last tend to be the ones you’re not counting on much from.
Pittsburgh came into the 2020 NFL Draft with a pretty strong starting lineup, but their depth was hit in a number of places. They were able to address most of them, with arguably the biggest need remaining being a true inside linebacker. A better prospect for the nose tackle position and a legitimate free safety reserve would also be on my want list.